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Apr 6, 2012 08:20 PM

Soft shell crab sightings?

Seems they are already in this year and I have a craving... Has anyone see them on the menu anywhere in Brooklyn? (other than Talde's bahn mi, which sounds great but we were just there recently. )

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  1. Well there is this from Eater- ....I had them at Traif the other day and they were terrific.

    1. I had them two weeks ago at LittleNeck; served with sauted ramps.

      Their well chosen, albeit limited, selection of oysters ( I've never come across Olympias in town ) and featured specials keep drawing me back.

        1. Are they turning up in markets yet? I prefer to cook them myself. That way I know they were good, soft, and lively in the first place.

          13 Replies
          1. re: EricMM

            Fish Tales had them this week. $6 per, (large or jumbo).

            1. re: JonL

              I actually made several calls yesterday (including Petite Crevette, Brooklyn Fish Camp, and Littleneck) and no one had them. :( Will try again next weekend.

              1. re: jinx

                Oh that's weird. I think just on Saturday I saw a 4square check-in from a friend that he was having soft shell crabs at Littleneck. I may have misread it though.

                1. re: jinx

                  Because soft shell's are so expensive and irregular early in the season, I find that a lot of markets won't carry them until May when they can be a regular item, and a little lower in price.

                  1. re: jinx

                    Jinx, you mention Petite Crevette and I see from an internet search that it's on Union Street and the reviews talk about it being very French and bistro-ish.
                    I fondly remember a Petite Crevette that used to be on Atlantic Avenue. We loved that one but it definitely wasn't an upscale French bistro.
                    Is the new Petite Crevette under the same ownership as the one I remember on Atlantic Avenue?

                    1. re: prio girl

                      Petite Crevette on Hicks just off Union (on the Columbia St side of the BQE) is owned by Neil Ganic, same owner as the old P.C. and Boullabaise on Atlantic. We haven't been there in awhile now but everyone tells us that he still turns out great fish and seafood there.

                      1. re: prio girl

                        Petite Crevette on Hicks is very similar to PC on Atlantic, although they do charge a small corkage fee ($5/bottle) here. In fact, because of the layout of the restaurant, it may even be a bit more funky.

                  2. re: EricMM

                    7th ave park slope … "mid-block"
                    5$ a shell … sweet & meaty
                    go early sat morning … they come in and move quickly.

                    1. re: EricMM

                      I recognize that there are two discussions here---who is serving them and who is selling them (retail). Today (Friday 5/4) there are medium/large shells at the Carrol Garden fish store 3/$10. Caveat--alive but just barely. I don't know what difference, if any, there is in lively vs. not very lively crabs. I personally differentiate between dead and alive. In between still qualifies as alive. I invite opinions on this. Anyway, dinner is still some hours away.

                      1. re: JonL

                        Umm... soft shell crabs are always sold dead. Otherwise if they were still alive they'd be growing their shells right after molting. Also, they're usually cleaned by the fish monger, which is why they're more expensive.

                        If your crabs are moving, they're not soft-shells!

                        1. re: egit

                          Not true. If soft shells are removed from the water, they cannot harden their shells. They need dissolved calcium in the water. No water, no supply of calcium. Dead crabs deteriorate very quickly. I have a lot of experience with softies, and I only buy them from stores that allow me to inspect them closely to make sure they are alive, and I insist on cleaning them myself. The really soft ones, which are the best, will have limited movement, but they do have movement....a twitching antenna, a curling leg joint. They will be very plump.I used to get really sick many times when I just trusted fish mongers on their softies...since I've insisted on inspecting them, I've never gotten sick.

                          1. re: EricMM

                            Okay. I sit corrected.

                            I've never made them; only had them in restaurants.

                    2. Hi jinx, (no pun intended)

                      It's not Brooklyn but just over the line in Glendale at Tazzina they had a special fritto misto (sp?) as of this past weekend.

                      It had stuffed soft-shell crab as well as shrimp and calamari. The portion was substantial. It was awfully darn delicious and came with a home-made tartar sauce that had bits of fresh raw garlic in it. Both were stupendous—alone and together.


                      Glendale is hungry...

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: Glendale is hungry

                        Finally caught them last night at Littleneck--and they were superb! Perfectly battered and fried over smokey grilled ramps and fingerlings. But it left me craving more, so if anyone sees them anywhere else, keep posting!

                        1. re: jinx

                          Watty and Meg (corner of Kane and Court) has been making them. I think they offered a SSC BLT over the weekend.

                          1. re: jinx

                            Dumont .... over arugula, roasted pineapple, jalapeno, salsa verde

                            1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis

                              That sounds yummy. We had some at Watty & Meg on Friday. Okay, but not great--too much five spice powder which I'm not fond of. Now, I've just ordered some from Fresh Direct (on sale 4 for $15) and I will attempt to make them myself, which I've never done before.

                              1. re: jinx

                                I pan-fried a couple today that I got from Fish Tales. Still $6/per for big crabs. Made a simple beer batter and fried 'em crispy & made sandwiches with greens & home made sriracha tartar sauce. In retrospect I should have respected their delicate nature a bit more--the texture was wonderful but their flavor was a bit overwhelmed.

                                1. re: jinx

                                  It was.

                                  There are good prep recs on-line.

                                  Do note, most restaurants go a step further and fully eviscerate beyond the apron.

                                  I favor saute over fry at home ... a light touch works wonders.

                                  1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis

                                    I ended up frying them in a panko crust and they came out perfectly. Fresh Direct sent nice plump ones which were well cleaned. Had them with lemon and tartar sauce which is really my favorite way to eat them!

                                    I see Littleneck has been having them a few times a week with different preparations so we may return there for some more as well. I can't get enough of them in season!

                                    1. re: jinx

                                      As egit mentions below, 7th ave south of 3rd (mid-block) ...
                                      5$/shell and they will do the prep if you wish ... try these "aqua pazza".
                                      Is "Lucky" the only place to get a decent tomato "out of season"?